LITERATURE: At Swim-Two-Birds – Diversity

Made myself take some time out from trying to justify (or rather, discover the obvious) the spending of $100k against a house the fiduciary claims to want to buy for $264k today to do some reading.  What a delightful point in the story to come into at this time.

If I get out of this pocket, said the Good Fairy in a thin voice, I will do damage.  I have stood as much a I will stand for one day.  (p. 176)

This is the story within a story within a story.  What the narrator of O’Brien’s book is having his character’s character write.  A Pooka, a Fairy, a couple of cowboys, all speaking together and yet with several conversations going on at once.  But it’s not just the layers of time that separate this novel, but the time element and the variety of characters all combine to make it an exciting time. 

I find myself going back to the  beginning of the book to assure myself that O’Brien wrote this in 1951.  The style of writing of the main or primary story is similar to what I would consider to be 19th century in its formality and language, as well as the described dress and habits of the characters.  Now we go into the narrator’s character of Trellis the author, and from there into this fairy tale-like group of Pooka and the Good Fairy.

I can’t help but wonder at times if O’Brien was on drugs during this writing, the ideas are so out of the norm and creative.  Not pot surely, since he’d have spent a month alone pondering the title and never gotten this masterpiece written.  Truly intriguing, and particularly at this point of the tale, enchanting.

This entry was posted in LITERATURE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to LITERATURE: At Swim-Two-Birds – Diversity

  1. Bud Parr says:

    Susan, you seem to be working your way through all my favorite books – enchanting is right, and it’s a book where I think there’s much more there than you get in one reading.

  2. susan says:

    Oh Bud, I just keep buying more! There’s nothing quite like At-Swim, and since there’s so much going on, I’m not able to concentrate on the many thing I usually am reading for so I believe you’re right; this will be a definite re-read!

Comments are closed.